No Pain No Gain

Like other examples of achievable organizational benefits, capturing the cheese down the digital transformation (DT) tunnel for most (if not all) organizations doesn’t come easy. But few DT pioneers do the prep work required to

1) predict where/why/how pushback will likely occur
2) understand the resource burden and provision for it
3) identify “right” partners & plug them in with mutually understood & agreed upon task descriptions (“jobs to be done”)

before deciding to proceed. The most glaring omission, and the one most likely to cost stakeholders their mandate to do something about moving their colleagues along the DT path, is failing to align the DT decision with a goal worth all the effort. Skipping this critical step puts the whole notion at risk if, as is too often the case, unforeseen bumps pop up. A decision to proceed on a DT effort has to be predicated on enough dollar value to justify the pain if it is to succeed.

Collecting useful answers to my points 1 – 3, above, and the really big one – quantifying what a successful DT effort is really worth to one’s organization and identifying the specific components of a winning value proposition – are absolutely mandatory. The compiled prep work then needs to be presented not only to the DT stakeholders, but to as senior a set of management eyes and ears the stakeholders can find. The higher the management rank, the better.

If the stakeholder team lacks the collective experience, then my pt 3, above, should be used to pull in third party expertise to fill the gap.

But, as I noted at the start of this post, unfortunately most organizations don’t complete the necessary preliminary work to justify a DT pivot. Rather, and most often to satisfy “fear of missing out”, FOMO, they simply jump into it. When the project goes south, as almost all rushed projects do, the refrain is “we just didn’t have the resources to make the effort successful”. Yuck.

Getting back to my pt 3, above, vendors should be as careful about selecting “right” customers as they are at watching their expenses. Tools need to be in place to identify losing propositions before they start. If for no other reason than to protect your business brand, blindly signing onto deals makes no sense and is to be avoided.

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